Actor and alumnus BD Wong returns to campus to share his story with students

Author: Jamie Oppenheim
March 15, 2024
Actor BD Wong sits in a chair on a stage across from a woman
Photo Credit: Corrine Allen

The Tony Award winner discussed the challenges he had to overcome as a queer Asian American actor

Award-winning actor and alumnus BD Wong recently returned to the stage at San Francisco State University not to perform, but to share insights gleaned from his decades-long career in film, theatre and television. A Tony Award winner for his groundbreaking role in “M. Butterfly” on Broadway, Wong is also known for appearances in films like “Mulan” and the “Jurassic Park” and “Father of the Bride” series.

While on campus at San Francisco State’s Little Theatre Tuesday, March 12, Wong answered questions from students and faculty as part of two forums, one hosted by Professor of Theatre and Dance Yutian Wong and the other by Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Amy Sueyoshi and Asian American Studies Professor Russell Jeung. Wong talked about his craft, shared advice for students hoping to launch careers in the arts and discussed the lessons he’s learned navigating the entertainment industry as a queer person of color.

Wong began acting in high school. The San Francisco native credited his high school drama teacher for instilling a sense of confidence in his ability to perform. Often cast as a lead in school productions, he never thought about his race. Then he came to SF State … where, unfortunately, he felt invisible. It was the late 1970s, and he was the only Asian American student in the theatre department. Faculty didn’t know how to serve him, he told students.

“They were certainly not programming anything that I could do that would have helped me assume my potential,” he said. “Nor were they transcending race and giving me roles that were not related to who I was as a person.”

Read the full story on SF State News.